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In Ridley Scott's Prometheus, the defining characteristic of Michael Fassbender's David is arguably his curiosity in humanity. Partially motivated by a secret mission statement given to him by Peter Weyland (Guy Pierce), he is completely fascinated by the qualities of life and nature, and has no problem putting his crewmates in harm's way in the pursuit of knowledge about them. This behavior winds up having some mixed results, including his own decapitation at the hands of an Engineer... but that's why you shouldn't expect David to be the exact same android we first met when we catch up with him in the upcoming sequel, Alien: Covenant.
I had the opportunity to learn all about David's role in the new blockbuster last summer when I flew out to Sydney, Australia with a small group of other journalists to visit the set of Alien: Covenant while production was still rolling. Specifically, it was while sitting down for an interview with Michael Fassbender that we learned what's been going on with the character in the 10 years since we last saw him. According to the actor (who actually plays two roles in the film), David's attitude has been adjusted quite a bit since we last saw him, and a lot of that has to do with the meeting he witnessed between the aging Peter Weyland and one of the awakened Engineers. Discussing his character's past fascination with humanity, Fassbender explained,
We sort of saw in the last, in Prometheus, the sort of concept of David witnessing [Peter] Weyland meeting his creator. So, you know, David was in some respects, as Peter Weyland was, in awe of his creator - until you see the fallacies of your creator and how mortal they can be. So I think he's moved on.
It's not a perspective that is incredibly hard to grasp. It's kind of hard to maintain a devoted fascination with your own creator after you witness said creator being violently destroyed by the entity that initially created them. It's hard to have the same kind of respect for someone when you watch them get beaten to death by a god-like creature... especially when the tool for said beating is your own head. So in the last 10 years, stranded on another alien planet with Noomi Rapace's Elizabeth Shaw, he's evidently had time to pursue other interests and curiosities, perhaps including the excessively dangerous xenomorphs.
Of course, the natural question that comes out of all this is "How much will we learn about the last 10 years when we catch up with David in Alien: Covenant?" The good news is that we posed this query to Michael Fassbender on set, and you can find his answer on the next page...
Because Ridley Scott is such a detail-oriented filmmaker, it shouldn't be too big a surprise to learn that Alien: Covenant will give audiences a sense of what's been going on within the continuity of the series since the events of Prometheus. That being said, you shouldn't worry about the blockbuster containing major flashback sequences that take the audience away from the action in order to explain what David and Elizabeth Shaw have been up to.
As Michael Fassbender told us on set, there definitely is a clear idea of what has happened to the two characters in the last decade, however, the details of those events will only be revealed in either visual clues or exposition directly tied to central narrative developments. Said the actor,
It's referenced in the film. You have an idea. I mean, it doesn't go into detail, like 'Day One.' He doesn't have a calendar or anything. But for me, obviously, I fill in those things, just like you do with sort of any other character - what happens before we see them in the story that we're watching. And so, like I said, there's a lot of information there that's given, and there's a lot of visual things to sort of fill in the gaps, if you will. So that was definitely helpful for me in terms of what has been occupying his time. Those sort of traits that we saw in Prometheus, his appreciation of beauty and nature, you know, that's all relevant.
It definitely makes you think about the wheat that the crew of the Covenant finds in the latest trailer, no?
In order to get all of the answers to burning questions, fans will have to wait for Alien: Covenant to hit theaters on May 19th... but thanks to our time on the set of the film, we'll have plenty more to dig into about the movie between now and then. Be sure to stay tuned here on CinemaBlend for more about the upcoming blockbuster, and hit the comments below to tell us your theories about David!